Drywall Brings Innovation to Clemson University's New Business School Building
For nearly 30 years, DPR Construction has constructed projects with the high level of quality and innovation customers expect, and the relentless accountability they deserve.
On Clemson University’s College of Business in South Carolina, DPR wanted to set the standard for the dual-tower, 176,000 square-foot building. High-performance drywall provided the innovation, productivity and value needed to yield the best results.
“Innovation is at this building’s core,” says Wendy York, Dean of the College of Business. “The new facility will strengthen our mission of preparing students to become leaders in today’s ever-changing, highly technological business world. We are proud to offer our students a learning environment that matches the caliber of our faculty and programs—a building that sets the standard for a 21st century top-tier business school.”
Casey Kilgore, drywall project manager at DPR adds, “Clemson made it clear that they wanted innovation to permeate throughout the project, and as general contractors, it’s our job to bring the best options. That’s exactly what we did with drywall.”
Clemson’s new home for business education, a five-story structure in the heart of campus, will serve as a think-tank environment, bringing students, faculty and industry together in a collaborative and inspiring space. The building includes a 90-foot-high atrium that connects the towers, panoramic views, a glass-enclosed financial trading room and a grand, 78-step staircase.
Time is Money
While innovation is at the center of Clemson’s goals for this $87.5 million facility, opening the new building on-time is also an important factor for success.
“The old adage, ‘time is money,’ is very true, especially on college campuses now and we are trying harder than ever before to condense our construction schedules,” says Paul Borick, capital projects manager for Clemson. “We’re pressed for space. We really do need to get these buildings online pretty quickly.”
Using innovative, durable construction materials, such as gypsum board, which has many advanced features and offers ease of installation, is paramount to any project finishing on-time, on-budget and providing long-term sustainability.
“We’ve seen a lot of efficiency gain using the PURPLE National Gypsum products because of the features they have—like GridMarX, which allows our guys to reduce layout time, start drilling fasteners more quickly and bypass a lot of rework,” says Kilgore.
Contractors like DPR can instantly identify stud locations and make accurate cuts without having to pencil in or snap chalk lines.
When fastening for code, the GridMarX installation guide marks help to quickly identify fastener patterns, virtually eliminating the need to measure between fasteners. Plus, cleaner fastener patterns make for a more efficient finishing and provide a visual benefit for building code officials, which makes inspections much faster and smoother.
“Our code guys actually like it a lot,” says Borick. “With the accuracy, you really know what you’re getting. I think that’s why the code enforcement people like it so much.”
Another advantage of using PURPLE drywall is the optimized 12-inch fastener pattern. This feature improves accuracy, reduces material and labor and lowers costs in both horizontal and vertical applications.
“MaX 12 was new to us,” says Kilgore. “On a job this large, that extra spacing—the 12 vs. 8 on the edges and in the field—adds up. We pick up a lot of time, a lot of efficiency and save money on materials and labor.”
Protection & Acoustics
DPR and National Gypsum conducted a study comparing GridMarX installation guide marks and the MaX 12 fastener pattern to the installation of traditional drywall. Using two separate rooms with the exact same dimensions, conditions and installers, the new PURPLE drywall provided a 29.8 percent increase in completion time over standard drywall.
The company’s PURPLE drywall was designed to provide extra protection against moisture, mold and mildew compared to standard drywall products. The board consists of a specially treated, fire-resistant, gypsum core encased in a heavy moisture, mold and mildew-resistant, purple-colored paper on the face side and a heavy gray paper on the back side.
Most impressive, perhaps, are the facility’s acoustic properties. One of the largest conference rooms in the building’s South Tower, located on a busy campus thoroughfare, is significantly quieter. This was achieved by using SoundBreak XP drywall products, which are specifically designed to dissipate and reduce sound, in addition to resisting moisture and mold.
“When this building got proposed in this location, we were concerned. It’s kind of a noisy area,” says Borick. “So, when we installed the SoundBreak products, I was really hopeful. And sure enough, we walk into the room now when I’m doing tours with large groups, and it’s almost eerily silent.”
On target for a 2020 opening, the new College of Business will nearly double what is currently available to students through the university’s present-day home. With a look and feel reflective of 21st century business, Kilgore believes the materials used in construction will play an important role in the university’s future.
“Based on our experience, we can see that more of our customers will appreciate the innovation, productivity and peace of mind that comes with using drywall products in complex projects like this one,” Kilgore explains. W&C